Familiar Names Headline the 2021 Women’s Player of the Year Competition with 50 Players Vying for Top Honor

ATLANTA (November 17, 2020) – The 2021 Women’s Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Watch List, announced today by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, is headlined by Rhyne Howard of Kentucky, who was a 2020 finalist for the trophy, and the 2020 Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Girls Trophy winner, Paige Bueckers, now a freshman at UConn. Overall, the list of 50 women’s players represents 11 national conferences with the Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC having nine players each. UConn, which has won more Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophies (10) than any other school, leads the group with four players included, followed by Baylor, the 2019 NCAA Women’s Basketball Champion, and Stanford with three candidates apiece.

“The competition for the 2021 Women’s Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy will intensify as more players enter the competition throughout the season, but these 50 candidates are the early contenders to watch,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “While last season was unlike any college basketball season we’ve experienced, we hope these athletes have the opportunity to compete through their entire schedule this season and showcase the full breadth of their abilities and talent.”

The midseason 30 team will be announced in early February; players who do not make the watch list are still eligible to be selected for the midseason 30 team. Then, the competition will be narrowed down to 10 national semifinalists on March 2, 2021, and four finalists will be named on March 19, 2021. The winner of the 2021 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy for Women’s Player of the Year will be announced on April 3, 2021.

“As we sponsor the collegiate honor for the first year, Jersey Mike’s is excited to partner with the Naismith Trophy,” said Rich Hope, chief marketing officer, Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc. “We look forward to following these great athletes throughout the season and honoring one of these talented players as the winner of the 2021 Women’s Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy.”

2021 Women’s Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List

AliyahBostonSo.FSouth CarolinaSEC
SamBrunelleSo. FNotre DameACC
Paige BueckersFr.GUConnBIG EAST
DiJonaiCarringtonSr.GBaylorBig 12
JessikaCarterJr.F/CMississippi St.SEC
CharliCollierJr.F/CTexasBig 12
ZiaCookeSo.GSouth CarolinaSEC
ElissaCunaneJr.CNC StateACC
AleahGoodmanSr.GOregon StatePac-12
VivianGraySr.GTexas TechBig 12
ArellaGuirantesSr.GRutgersBig Ten
LaurenHeardSr.GTCUBig 12
Lexi HeldJr. GDePaulBIG EAST
NazHillmonJr.FMichiganBig Ten
LexieHullJr. GStanfordPac-12
RickeaJacksonSo. FMississippi St.SEC
AshleyJoensJr.G/FIowa State Big 12
TaylorJonesSo.FOregon StatePac-12
HaleyJonesSo. GStanford Pac-12
N'deaJonesSr.FTexas A&M SEC
DorkaJuhászJr.FOhio StateBig Ten
AyokaLeeSo.CKansas StateBig 12
KiaraLewisSr.GSyracuse ACC
NatashaMackSr.FOklahoma StateBig 12
TianaMangakahiaSr.GSyracuse ACC
OliviaNelson-OdodaJr.FUConnBIG EAST
AshleyOwusuSo.GMarylandBig Ten
AliPatbergSr.GIndianaBig Ten
LashaPetreeJr. GBradleyMVC
LindseyPulliamSr.GNorthwesternBig Ten
DiDiRichardsSr.GBaylorBig 12
NaLyssa SmithJr.FBaylorBig 12
TaylorSouleJr.FBoston CollegeACC
MaddiUttiSr.FFresno St.MWC
Hailey Van LithFr.GLouisvilleACC
Evina Westbrook Jr.GUConnBIG EAST
KianaWilliamsSr.GStanford Pac-12
ChristynWilliamsJr.GUConnBIG EAST


Founded during the 1956-57 season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club administers the Naismith Awards, the most prestigious national honors in all of college and high school basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the family of Naismith Awards annually recognizes the most outstanding men’s and women’s college and high school basketball players and coaches. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the men’s and women’s college basketball defensive players of the year, as well as lifetime achievement awards to basketball officials and outstanding contributors to the game. UCLA’s Lew Alcindor received the first Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy in 1969, while the late Anne Donovan (Old Dominion) was the inaugural women’s recipient in 1983. Corporate partners of the Naismith Awards include Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder.



Jersey Mike’s Subs, with more than 2,500 locations open and under development nationwide, serves authentic fresh sliced/fresh grilled subs on in-store freshly baked bread — the same recipe it started with in 1956. Passion for giving in Jersey Mike’s local communities is reflective in its mission statement “Giving…making a difference in someone’s life.” For more information, please visit jerseymikes.com or follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/jerseymikes), Instagram (instagram.com/jerseymikes), and Twitter (twitter.com/jerseymikes.com).


Media Contact:

Traci Messier

Jackson Spalding for the Atlanta Tipoff Club

[email protected]